Study: Living Wills Curb Medicare Costs In High-Spending Areas
New research published in the Oct. 5 issue of JAMA found that, if end-of-life advance directives were in place, Medicare savings could be achieved if areas with high health care spending behaved more like those with low spending.
Modern Healthcare: End-of-life Medicare Spending Lower Among Patients With Advance Directives: Study
In areas of the country that have high Medicare expenditures, end-of-life Medicare spending decreases significantly for patients who have advance directives in place that limit treatment, a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concludes. "Our results indicate a statistically and economically significant relationship between advance directives and regional practice patterns," the study's authors wrote. "The regional variations literature has asserted that significant savings to the Medicare population could be achieved if high-spending regions practiced more like low-spending regions" (Selvam, 10/4).
Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Living Wills Help Curb Costs Only In High-Spending Areas, Study Finds
Patient advance directives, such as living wills, could be a powerful tool for controlling costs in end-of-life care, researchers reported Tuesday, but only in parts of the U.S. where those costs already run relatively high. In those areas, a patient's treatment for the last six months of life ran more than $39,500, on average, without an advance directive. Care for patients who did have an advance directive were 14 percent less on average. In other regions, however, the use of advance directives had little effect on costs (Torres, 10/4).
CNN: End Of Life Planning Saves Money
A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that advance directives are linked to less Medicare spending, lower likelihood of dying in a hospital, and higher usage of hospice care in areas of the U.S. that tend to spend the most on end of life care generally. Advance directives, also called living wills, are documents that specify what kind of treatment you do or don't want to be given in various situations when your life is on the line. …The study looked at information from 3,302 Medicare beneficiaries from a nationally representative study at the University of Michigan called the Health and Retirement Study. Participants included in the end-of- life research died between 1998 and 2007. Researchers ... found that in regions of the country where there tends to be a more aggressive treatment style for end-of-life care, Medicare spending was about $5,600 less per person who died with an advance directive. There was no significant spending difference found in locations with low to average end-of-life expenditures (Landau, 10/4).